Tuesday, May 15, 2001

City & County of Honolulu

HPD criminal
probe eyes Mansho’s
campaign finances

Investigators press aides
to the embattled City
Council member

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

The white-collar unit of the Honolulu Police Department is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against City Councilwoman Rene Mansho.

Detectives have questioned at least two former Mansho employees and have subpoenaed several current employees, sources said.

Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura and Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Bob Watada say police have subpoenaed papers tied to Mansho's affairs, including travel and campaign spending records.

There have been two other recent investigations in which Mansho acknowledged wrongdoing and agreed to pay cash settlements.

In March the Campaign Spending Commission slapped Mansho with a $40,000 fine for misspending her campaign funds. The Council, meanwhile, is collecting an additional $40,000 from Mansho as "reimbursement" for misusing staff time after the Ethics Commission found her in violation of ethics rules. Her colleagues also stripped her of leadership positions.

Among the allegations are those tied to more than 40 trips to the neighbor islands and the mainland that Mansho took from 1990 to 2000 in connection with the Hawaii State Association of Counties and its parent organization, the National Association of County Organizations.

Mansho reported spending money from her campaign account for the trips, but also received reimbursements from the Council for the same travel without paying back the campaign account, according to the Campaign Spending Commission's findings.

Mansho could not be reached for comment last night on the latest developments.

Yoshimura said he is not surprised by the police investigation.

"I think this is just a natural outcome of the ethics and campaign spending reports," Yoshimura said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is not a new story. It's just a new chapter in this situation."

Authorities from the Internal Revenue Service have also been questioning people about Mansho's dealings.

Additionally, constituents from Mansho's 1st District Council seat have begun collecting signatures on recall and impeachment petitions seeking to remove her from office.

Mansho has been on the Council for the past 12 years. She represents the North Shore, Wahiawa, Mililani and portions of Waipahu. She is not eligible for re-election when her term ends next year.

City & County of Honolulu

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